Bob Anderson, the choreographer and stuntman who played Darth Vader in the lightsaber dueling scenes of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi has passed away. He was 86.

Anderson learned fencing in the British Royal Marines during World War II. After the war, he became a fencing champion and competed for Britain in the world championships in 1950 and 1952. In 1952, Bob Anderson's movie career began when he was asked to leave his Olympic fencing competition to help Errol Flynn on the set of his latest movie, The Master of Ballantrae. Flynn was so impressed by Anderson that he requested Anderson stay for the rest of the movie. From there, Anderson became known in Hollywood as the premiere choreographer for swordfights. He went on to train and choreograph dueling scenes in other films such as The Princess Bride, Highlander, The Lord of the Rings, and Pirates of the Caribbean

Anderson was only supposed to be the choreographer for the fencing in Star Wars, but reportedly the original Darth Vader David Prowse couldn't learn the moves. That's why Anderson performed them himself as Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Anderson's role in the Star Wars movies was supposed to be a secret, but Mark Hamill revealed it in a 1983 interview with Starlog magazine. Hamill was motivated by admiration for Anderson's achievement.

You can read more about his incredible career at the LA Times. Happy trails, Bob Anderson.

[Image Source: starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com
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